University 100

  • Word cloud displaying key course topics and campus partners for University 100

About University 100

Course description, assignments, student learning outcomes, and student comments about U100.

Course Description

University 100: The Freshman Seminar (3 units, letter-graded) is dedicated to ensuring your college success and motivating your journey toward lifelong learning. The seminar will enable you to develop your own plan for personal, academic, and career success through self-evaluation, application of specific techniques, discussions, field experiences, and traditional classroom exercises. These activities will help you acquire effective study strategies, stimulate your critical and creative thinking skills, practice university-level oral and written expression, establish short-term and long-term goals, become a skilled user of library resources, and learn to manage time more efficiently. You'll find out about the many campus resources available to students and will be actively encouraged to form lasting relationships with your professor and classmates. This is a course about making choices: about setting and meeting your personal, academic, and career goals. University 100 is available for GE credit in Subject Explorations--Lifelong Learning (S4), and for Information Competence (IC) credit.

Typical U100 Class Assignments

  • Student Self Report Card
  • Cultural Event Report: analysis of a campus event (students select and attend the event)
  • Weekly discussion forum posts (online)
  • Information competence research project
  • Brief reflective essays examining the links between college and career, and between individual identity and college success
  • Various assignments linked to each year's Freshman Common Reading
  • In-class exercises focusing on various strategies for academic and personal success in college
  • Time-management practice (time logs)
  • Getting Involved: students participate in one meeting of a campus organization and report on the experience
  • Ethical decision-making: short exercises (role-plays and online forum posts) applying theoretical frameworks to examine complex problems

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of your U100 class, you will be able to:

  1. Describe CSUN policies and resources central to your success as a student.
  2. Describe some of your strengths as a learner.
  3. Describe ways in which you are an agent in your own academic success.
  4. Find and use appropriate information resources to negotiate complex challenges (for example, ethical dilemmas, academic assignments, and/or issues of personal identity).
  5. Demonstrate your ability to use at least one time management technique.
  6. Name [at least] two people you have met at CSUN whom you can call on for help.

Lifelong Learning: GE Subject Exploration Outcomes Met by University 100

  1. Students will identify and actively engage in behaviors conducive to individual health, well-being, or development, and understand the value of maintaining these behaviors throughout their lifespan.
  2. Students will apply the knowledge and skills of science and technology and evaluate how they impact individuals, the community, and/or society. 

Information Competence 

Information Competence (IC) goal: Students will progressively develop information competence skills throughout their undergraduate career by developing a basic understanding of information retrieval tools and practices as well as improving their ability to evaluate and synthesize information ethically.

Information Competence Student Learning Outcomes Met by University 100

Students will:

  1. Determine the nature and extent of information needed;
  2. Demonstrate effective search strategies for finding information using a variety of sources and methods;
  3. Locate, retrieve, and evaluate a variety of relevant information including print and electronic formats.
  4. Organize and synthesize information in order to communicate effectively;
  5. Explain the legal and ethical dimensions of the use of information.


Original U100 learning outcomes (before 2011):

As a result of completing University 100, you should be able to:

  1. Describe the value of higher education to society.
  2. Explain why you are in college.
  3. Define and describe the value of lifelong learning.
  4. Describe what CSUN expects of you as a student: what are your roles and responsibilities at CSUN?
  5. Make positive choices about time and involvement (both curricular and co-curricular).
  6. Demonstrate problem-solving and goal-setting skills.
  7. Demonstrate familiarity with CSUN's academic policies and programs, and show proficiency locating that information in the university catalog.
  8. Demonstrate familiarity with campus resources and locations (e.g. Health Center, etc.).
  9. Find, evaluate, and use appropriate print and electronic information to complete class assignments.
  10. Assess your strengths and weaknesses in basic academic and communication skills, including reading and listening with comprehension; organizing ideas for presentation; writing brief papers and reports; speaking in public; participating in group discussions; and working cooperatively in diverse communities.
  11. Use your awareness of personal style (learning style and/or personality type) to enhance your personal and academic success.
  12. Establish positive relationships with other students, with faculty, and with other members of the campus community (i.e., make friends; ask questions; ask for help).
  13. Transact basic university business (e.g., select and register for classes, interact with Financial Aid and/or Cash Management, meet requirements for immunizations, view semester grades).
  14. Identify ethical issues, appreciate the role of critical thinking in examining alternatives, and formulate your own position with respect to selected issues.


In U100, we assess student learning by tracking student retention (year one to year two), student progress towards degree (graduation), student grades, comments on course evaluations submitted at the end of each term, and--occasionally--by hosting student focus groups (most recently in 2014). 

Formal assessment of the six SLOs for University 100 began in 2011 with SLO 6: "Name [at least] two people you have met at CSUN whom you can call on for help." Each fall, faculty are asked to address student learning with respect to another SLO.  We finished our first pass through the six SLOs in 2016 when we collected data on SLO 1: "Describe CSUN policies and resources central to your success as a student." In AY 2017-2018, assessment will focus on redesigning University 100.

Reports summarizing course-wide results are available on request from the course director:

Here is a sample report provided to U100 faculty in May 2013, summarizing the results of our assessment of SLO 5 (which we addressed in fall 2012):

Time Management: SLO 5 Assessment Report (2013) (.pdf)

As a result of discussion of this report with the faculty, we decided to focus more closely on using the Associated Students Planners as a time management tool in U100.

What Students Say about U100

Looking back on what she learned in U100, Mariana Marquez (Psychology '19) says,"I know how to navigate through school like a pro."

Writing anonymously on end-of-semester course evaluations, CSUN freshmen had these comments about the course and what they learned:

  • I learned that I can graduate and be an open person.
  • Helped me think more about possible majors.
  • I now have a better understanding of what I am good at and what I can do with my major. Overall a great class and a great teacher.
  • Introduced me to new ways of studying.
  • As a student and a person I have learned to use my strengths to pursue success.
  • Helped me manage my time and prioritize.
  • Allowed me to learn about various programs on campus and taught me that there is more to college than just an education.
  • The goal oriented assignments and thoughts about the future really helped.
  • Useful information that applies to school and outside life.
  • Made me comfortable enough to ask questions.
  • I know now that someone at CSUN will always be there to listen when I need help.
  • I learned more about what I will need to do in the future in order to meet my career goals.